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BONUS BALTICAPP - Race Against Eutrophication Blog

I started my work as a PhD student 1.5.2015. I am an environment and resource economist and I received my M.Sc. from the University of Helsinki December of year 2014. Within this project I’m modelling agri-environmental management related to various scenarios associated with the future development of the Baltic Sea. In this blog I will share my experiences and thoughts as a PhD student and beginner researcher.
20.07.2017 12:00

EAERE 2017

Matti Sihvonen

Hi all!


In this blog I will tell about the EAERE conference held in Athens. First I must emphasize that it was really hot out there. I have never experienced such a hot temperatures (35-45 degrees) in my life before. Luckily the air conditioning worked just well in the conference places and all the other facilities were also very well handled. Overall the conference was a good and learning experience. I witnessed some great presentations and speeches. I guess that the best presentations (among those I saw) focused on micro-econometric data analysis and intertemporal optimization. I guess that it was particularly beneficial to see the overall level and current trends in environmental economics. It appears that macro models and everything related to climate change is now cool. Also behavioral and network economics appear to be very hot fields right now. My subject of interest, namely empirical agricultural production analysis and agri-environmental modelling seems rather uninteresting subject currently, to say at least. But that’s ok, I keep calm and continue working with my PhD anyway. At least I am still excited about it (now that I’m working with the second paper)!   

There was also one very good plenary speech, which handled multiple layers of uncertainty, including model selection uncertainty. I found this particularly interesting, of course, because I have been struggling with uncertainty (regarding particularly model selection) issues for so long time now. I actually started to loose my interest in structural uncertainty entirely. But now it seems that it might actually be the key to get my first paper published. I got this idea that perhaps I should reframe the problem so that the focus is, again, shifted to these structural uncertainty issues within the optimization problem. It would be absolutely perfect if I could find a way to formulate the profit maximization problem analytically so that the parametric and model selection uncertainty would be taken into account explicitly. This, however, might be very challenging and perhaps beyond my abilities, given the time limits at least. But in any case, I should stress the structural uncertainty, because it appears to be generally interesting topic after all; for a moment I thought I was the last person on earth interested in it.

My presentation in the conference went just fine. Needless to say I was very nervous about it. The audience wasn’t large, which was just fine. One reason for the lack of audience, among the fact that nobody is generally interest in empirically bio-economic modelling in the context of agriculture (or fertilizers (!)), might have been that it was a last parallel session before the dinner and the busses started to leave just after the session. I guess most of the people went to hotel to rest and get ready for the evening. Anyway, I got some comments for some Chinese senior researcher, which was very nice, although I couldn’t understand her comments at the moment, because of the very challenging accent. However, after reprocessing the echoes in my ears for a while I understood what she said. Anyway, the comments were very trivial and I’m a little bit upset that I couldn’t respond to those at the moment, but better luck next time perhaps. I also was a discussant for a one presentation in our session. I think it went well and the situation resolved rather nicely in the end. The dinner, by the way, was great and we had very good time. Even the head master of the Greek bank was there to give his speech, which was super funny (the speech I mean).

I must say that I didn’t seize the opportunity to network with foreign people at all, which was a little bit unfortunate. The thing is that there was such a huge amount of Finnish environmental economists there that most of the time we just chatted with each other in some isolated corner. And during the dinner we also had Finnish tables. Luckily some German researches shared a table with us in the end. Thus, some international communications did take place, but not much. Anyway, it was a very nice event and all. I really hope that I could participate the next one also (which will be held in Gothenburg), but it will be much more unlikely because it will be a world conference so the competition will be much tougher. I know for a fact that the second paper will be much more interesting in terms of environmental economics than the first one, but will it be enough, remains to be seen. It would be nice to see the Gothenburg because it is capital if Scandinavian Heavy Metal!


Thus, Rock on and see you next month!


Bets regards: Matti Sihvonen 

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